Focus Games

SIGGRAPH 2010 offers an unparalleled bounty of information related to game development in all conference programs:

  • Courses with significant game-development content include Advanced Techniques in Real-Time Hair Rendering and Simulation; Advances in Real-Time Rendering in 3D Graphics and Games (I & II); An Introduction to 3D Spatial Interaction With Videogame Motion Controllers; Beyond Programmable Shading (I & II); Color Enhancement and Rendering in Film and Game Production; Gazing at Games: Using Eye Tracking to Control Virtual Characters; Global Illumination Across Industries; Perceptually Motivated Graphics, Visualization, and 3D Displays; Physically Based Shading Models in Film and Game Production; Recent Advances in Real-Time Collision and Proximity Computations for Games and Simulations; and Stylized Rendering in Games.

  • Talks of direct interest to game developers include A Deferred-Shading Pipeline for Real-Time Indirect Illumination, Curvature-Dependent Reflectance Function for Rendering Translucent Materials, How to Get From 30 to 60 Frames Per Second in Video Games for "Free", Irradiance Rigs, Screen Space Classification for Efficient Deferred Shading, Split-Second Motion Blur, Practical Morphological Anti-Aliasing on the GPU, REYES Using DirectX 11, and User-Generated Terrain in ModNation Racers.

  • Live Real-Time Demos showcase cutting-edge real-time rendering applications, including games such as Blur, God of War III, and LOVE.

  • The Computer Animation Festival also features game-related content; one of the Production Sessions discusses The Making of God of War III, and the Electronic Theater and Commercials & Cinematics screening include several game commercials and cinematics.

  • In the Exhibition, various game-technology vendors show their latest products and many present Exhibitor Tech Talks of interest to game developers.

  • Several Birds of a Feather sessions focus on topics of interest to the game industry, such as COLLADA, OpenCL and OpenGL.

Beyond the content directly related to game development, film production topics are also often relevant to game developers. One example is the use of spherical harmonics and precomputed occlusion in “Avatar”, as discussed in two Talks and one Technical Paper . Other examples can be found among the many film production presentations by the makers of films such as “2012”, “Alice in Wonderland” , “Avatar”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “Iron Man 2”, “Shrek Forever After”, “Tangled”, “The Last Airbender”, “Toy Story 3”, and “TRON: LEGACY”.

In addition to practical production techniques of short-term interest, SIGGRAPH 2010 also presents forward-looking research that is likely to guide future developments. The Technical Papers program presents advanced graphics research, Panels speculate on future research directions, and Emerging Technologies features hands-on demonstrations of novel interaction methods and devices.

And opportunities for informal collaboration and exchange are everywhere. Throughout the week, SIGGRAPH 2010 attendees meet, network, and talk shop with the world’s top computer graphics talents.

See you in LA!

Troy Dunniway

SIGGRAPH 2010 Director of Gaming

GlobeX Studios

Games Sessions

Game Design

Game Papers
Thursday, 29 July | 2:00 PM
Designing Entertaining Educational Games Using Procedural Rhetoric: A Case Study
This paper describes design and development of a video game about sustainable energy use that effectively unites fun with learning. It also presents results from an initial study of the educational impact of the game.

Many educational games do not properly translate knowledge, facts, and lessons into the language of games. The result: games that are often neither engaging nor educational. In this paper, game mechanics are used in new ways to express the educational content. The design combines the fantasy elements and game-play conventions of the real-time strategy genre with numbers, resources, and situations based on research about real-world energy production and use. The result is a game in which the player learns about energy use simply by trying to overcome the game’s challenges.

The game also presents a model for translating real-world topics into game mechanics using the language of procedural rhetoric. The real world is ripe with problems and situations that could inspire interesting game mechanics and provide new creative ideas for educational and traditional game designers.

The paper highlights key design aspects that contributed to making the game fun as well as educational. It also demonstrates that effective and engaging learning games can be developed with minimal effort, as long as sound game-design principles are used. Results from a combined quantitative/qualitative study show that players enjoyed the game, learned new things, and became more interested in energy use.

Can “Gaming 2.0” Help Design "Serious Games"?
People without professional game-design skills, such as teachers and therapists, often request tools that could allow them to create or modify "serious games". Gaming 2.0 helps people outside the videogame industry create videogame content. Can these tools be used to create “serious games”?

To answer this question, this paper defines a simple theoretical model of video games. It outlines four “game parts” that players can create with Gaming 2.0 tools. Then it shows how this model can be used to provide a comparative analysis of 15 Gaming 2.0 examples. From this analysis, it derives insights on the relevance of Gaming 2.0 for the “serious games” field.

A Narrative-Driven Design Approach for Casual Games With Children
This paper proposes a design method to build casual games for children with children. Children approach game narratives with previously acquired schemata that are different from adults' schemata, so integrating narratives developed by children themselves into game design can create games that are more appropriate for young audiences. The proposed method uses a narrative approach to game design based on informant-design methods to maximize the contribution of both children informants and adult designers. It includes three major phases: Narrative Design, Game Design, and Design Moderation.

The method was applied to development of a mobile-phone game. User testing revealed that the children generally enjoyed the game and that the proposed method has promising potential in empowering the child designers. Future work will focus on further evaluating the method for refinement.

Using Semiotic Grammars for Rapid Design of Evolving Videogame Mechanics
McDaniel et al. [2009] proposed the concept of cardboard semiotics, which uses semiotics (the study of signs and symbols and their interpretations) as a conceptual prototyping tool for game-story development. This paper adapts the theoretical principle of cardboard semiotics to an engineered formalism for design of game mechanics. It begins with a brief introduction to videogame literacy and a key method of semiotic analysis, and provides examples of how it can be applied in design of real-time strategy and first-person shooter games. It then uses generalized semiotic grammars, or methods for composing symbolic sentences, to expose the underlying frameworks of popular commercial games and show how they can be re-imagined in other contexts through the semiotic technique of substitution.

Global Illumination Across Industries

Thursday, 29 July | 2:00 PM

Global-illumination (GI) computation has been the subject of intense research in computer graphics for many years, but it has only recently been extensively used in practical applications. Major industries, such as videogame and film production, architecture, and design, now use GI produce CG imagery with increased realism. However, trade-offs differ in these applications, so each uses a significantly different GI computation technique.

This course provides an overview of GI computation in practical applications across and within industries. It focuses on juxtaposing the domain-specific decision processes that influence the choice of a particular solution. Each technique is presented in the context of the objectives and constraints set by the application. The course reviews the strong and weak points of each implentation and possibilities for further innovation. It also presents an overview of the latest academic research results in the various application areas.

Course Notes


2 pm
Introduction to Global Illumination

2:15 pm
Ray Tracing Solution for Film Production Rendering

2:40 pm
Point-Based Global Illumination for Film Production

3:05 pm
Ray Tracing vs. Point-Based GI for Animated Films

3:30 pm

3:45 pm
Adding Real-Time Point-based GI to a Video Game

4:15 pm
Pre-computing Lighting in Games

4:45 pm
Dynamic Global Illumination for Games: From Idea to Production Kaplanyan

5:10 pm
Conclusions, Q & A


Birds of a Feather
Thursday, 29 July | 4:00 PM

WebGL is a cross-platform, royalty-free web standard based on OpenGL ES 2.0. WebGL is shader-based using GLSL, bringing plugin-free 3D to the web, directly into the browser.

In the News
SIGGRAPH 2010 Video